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Posts Made By: Erik Lin

October 26, 2003 05:56 PM Forum: Astro Binoculars

Tripod slow motion adapters

Posted By Erik Lin


I purchased the Celestron(deluxe?) slow motion tripod adapter in the last 1980s. It works very well for my 60mm spotting scope and 80mmF5 refractro up to 88X. Celestron only had one model back then and the asking price was much less than the Celestron Deluxe today. I think I paid less than $40. Purchased the Orion version about two years ago and it works too. However, backlask is noticeable in the less expensive Orion model.

Two years ago this week I purchased my first pair of 20X80 giant bino from Orion. A week after the arrival of the 20X80s I ordered the Bogen 501 fluid head and 3246 tripod. My old Bogen 3001 tripod was too short for standing observation and 3126 head was barely adquate. I have been using the Bogen 501 head ever since. The 501 head is rated for 13 lb load with adjustable tension knobs and is very smooth. It can handle my 25X100mm 8.5 lb binos without any problem. I found the slow motion adapter is not needed with the Bogen 501 head. I like it so much I purchased a second Bogen tripod(3221WN) and 501 head combo last year. I also purchsed additional pan handles(3433HK) for the 501 head and it works even better now. This combo can handle my friend's 17" long Oberwerk 22X100 jumobo binos as well.

Street price for the Bogen 501 head is about $135 these days. It more expensive than the 3130/3126 head but IMO it's worth every penny. I'd recommend getting the 501 head and forget about the slow motion adapter. A good bino mount makes giant bino astronomy a real pleasure.

Erik D

November 16, 2003 09:35 AM Forum: Astro Binoculars

Oberwerk 12-36x70mm

Posted By Erik Lin


I've used my friend's Oberwerk 12-36X for about a week. They are about the best 70mm zooms in that price range. Much better than my Tasco 7-21X40 zoom which is not suitable for astronomy or much else.

The Oberwerk 12-36X70 is useable up to 25-28X before resolution starts to break down. If you are going to use a tripod/mount anyway I recommend you consider the 20X80 LW. They have very good optics and will give you a wider 3.5 deg FOV at 20X than the 70mm zoom at 12X. If you talk to Kevin B at Oberwerk he'll tell you he prefer fixed power binos for astronomy.

Erik D

November 19, 2003 11:14 AM Forum: Astro Binoculars

Celestron 15x 70

Posted By Erik Lin

I believe the Orion 15X70s are made in Japan, the same as my Orion 20X80s.... They both carry a 5 year warranty. The 15X70s from Celestron, Burgess and Oberwerk are made in China with a one year warranty. You can expect better mechanical construction from the Orion's but the optics are not better than the Burgess or Oberwerk. My $149 Burgess 20X80 LW has better optics than my Orion 20X80.($399)

I do not have first hand experience with the Celestron 15X70 but I'd be wary of the very low price. You can spend less than $50 or nearly $1k for 10X50 porro prism, Bak-4 binos but don't expect the same quality from a pair $49 Bushnells.

Phil Harrington reviewed the 15X70s from Orion, Oberwerk and Burgess in the April 2003 issue of Astronomy Magazine. He found the performance of all three to be very close. My inclnation is to spend a little more for the Obewerk. Oberwerks seem to have the best coating and most consistent QC. The Orion little giant has very short 8 mm eye relief.

Erik D

November 24, 2003 01:05 AM Forum: Astro Binoculars

Looking for the model name of my Nikons...

Posted By Erik Lin

I checked my 2003 Nikon Sports Optics booklet. There are two 7X50 Waterproof models listed. The OceanPro is center focus with 7.2 deg FOV and 22.7 mm eye relief. The Sports and Marine is IF, 7.5 deg FOV and 18 mm eye relief. Looks like the Sports and Marine is more rugged model.

Erik D

November 24, 2003 08:49 AM Forum: Astro Binoculars

Oberwerk 20x80 lt or 15x 70

Posted By Erik Lin


15X70 binos have 4.67mm exit pupil; 20X80s 4 mm. I wouldn't worry about lost of contrast with the 20X80 LWs. Higher power and smaller exit pupil will darken the background and IMPROVE contrast. I have 7X50, 12X60, 20X80 and 25X100 binos. The 20X80LW is my most used astro bino because it's light weight and wide 70 deg APFOV. Higher power and larger objectives of the 20X80 brings out stars nearly invisible in my 12X60s. My skies in central NJ are no better than mag 4.5.

Most people recommend that 15X70 binos should be tripod mounted anyway. You might as well go for the 20X80 LWs since they weigh just 9 oz more than the 15X70s.

Erik D

December 1, 2003 07:44 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Used Meade 16" or New 14":?

Posted By Erik Lin

Geoff Gaherty, one of the moderaters of Yahoo "Talking Telescopes" group posted the follwing comment about the Mead 16" on 23 NOV 03.

"I suspect that there's a lot of variation in the optical quality of SCTs, no matter who makes them or how much they cost. Certainly there are many good ones, and a few excellent ones, but there are also some real dogs, Both the Meade 16" SCTs I've used have had terrible optics, simply not acceptable for the amount of money they charge for them. Yet one of my friends owns a Celestron 14" which is simply exquisite and another a Celestron 8" of similar quality. Newtonians with mirrors by the like of Zambuto and Harry will probably outperform average scopes at least one size larger. Certainly my 11" Zambuto thinks it's a 12.5"!

Geoff is certainly one of the most knowledgeable telescope person I have ever came across on the internet. I guess the point is to select quality of optics over size. That's why I am thinking of the TEC 200 APO or equivalent if I ever get another scope.

Erik D

PS. You can read Geoff's post in it's entirety at the Yahoo Talking Telescopes group. It's message # 90900.

December 8, 2003 07:57 PM Forum: Astro Binoculars

Zeiss 8x30, Nikon 10x42 Superior E +......

Posted By Erik Lin


Thank you for posting an interesting thread on this .... it's been a while because even when KJ is around he likes to stir up things on the Birding Optics side first. :-))

This topic is very interesting to me because I am still searching for the optimum high power hand holdable bino for air travel(without a tripod). I purchased the Oberwerk 12X60 last year and took them on a Bermuda cruise a few month ago. Hand holding 12X60 is not a problem for me but they were a bit awkward hanging around my neck when other passengers are carrying 8X20, 32 or 42mm binos. They are not waterproof either.

Then I went to a birding show in on 1 Nov and started dreaming about Leica 12X50 BRs, Swarovski 15X56 SLC and Zeiss Victory.... then I came to my senses. I bought my daughter the Pentax DCF MP 8X28 RP WP for her birthday and was quite impressed. It has phase coating, close focus to 3meter and 20mm eye relief for under US$200 AND a $30 rebate.

While shopping for the DCF MP I took a closer look at the DCF SP line which is the top of the Pentax RP line. The Pentax DCF SP 12.5X50 has 17mm eyerelief, 3.5m close focus, 4.8 deg FOV and hydrophobic coating on lens and phase coating on prisms. It comes in a trim 6.7X 5.2 in, 30 oz package. I consider 4mm exit pupil ideal for my over 40 eyes for astronomy.

I don't know if the Pentax DCF SP is in the same class optically as the Nikon SE but it is waterproof to 1 meter. Price should be around $600 street if you shop around.

I know Alan B thinks highly of the Canon 18X50 IS. My astro friend loves his too. I have tested it with and without a tripod. I do not feel the same way. I agree with David and Kenny's assessment so that's all I will say for now. Over to you...

Erik D

December 15, 2003 08:30 AM Forum: Astro Binoculars

Oberwerk 20 X 80's Hard to Focus??

Posted By Erik Lin


I assume this is the 20X80 Deluxe model with the built-in tripod adapter. My astro friend had the Oberwerk 20X80 Deluxe for about a year before making a trade-in for the 22X100 model in Aug 2003. I recall the focuser was a bit stiff when new but not "binding" as you described.

If this is a recent purchase I'd suggest contacting Oberwerk directly. Kevin B is usually very quick about correcting problems with Oberwerk products. Even if the unit is out of warranty Oberwerk's repair charge is quite reasonable.

Erik D

December 16, 2003 07:43 AM Forum: Astro Binoculars

kronos 10x50 7.75 fov

Posted By Erik Lin


I was intrigued by these EWA Kronos/Zmoz binos so I made a point of visiting the ITE booth at NEAF 2003(There is a 6X30 model with 12.5 deg FOV!) I must say I was not particularly impressed with the optical quality nor the PAINTED camo finish of these binos. They looked like low cost binos from the 1960s. I don't recall if I looked thru the 10X50 model but the 6X30 certainly did not feel like it was worth the $129 asking price.

My brief viewing experince thru these binos was done indoors with high overhead lights, not the ideal setting for optical evaluations. Others may have a different assessment.

Erik D

January 20, 2004 10:53 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Best tripod for my bogen 410/ed80?

Posted By Erik Lin


I use my Bogen tripods for 80/100mm astro binos as well as my spotting scope. I like them tall enough for observing the zenith in while I am standing. My Bogen 3221WN is rated for a 13 lb load and reach to 6 ft with the center column extended. The Bogen 3046/3246 can reach over 7 ft and is rated for 26 lbs.

You can consider QuickSet tripods for heavier loads. The QuickSet Samson model is rated for 40 lbs and can reach 76" with the geared center column fully extended. Retail price for a new Samson triod is ~$700 but I purchsed two used ones in good condition last year for about $100 each last year. I have seen them on Astromart occassionlly.

Erik D